NORMAN — The 2008 Public Safety Sales Tax approved by voters was designed to add 41 new police officers to the department. All but two new officers have been hired, but the department overall has 19 vacancies due to retirements and officers leaving the force.
A new academy will begin in October to fill those remaing spots and others that have opened up. Seven new officers will begin their shifts soon following their graduation from the 50th police academy Thursday afternoon. Ten cadets began their training Feb. 8 but three didn’t finish.
Family members pinned badges on Officers Aury Barrett, Ashley Curry, Marvin Deatherage, Cody Fassett, Thomas McGuire, Ryan Rylant and Nathaniel Worthley.
The additional tax was for seven years with the idea the city’s retail sales tax base would grow enough to absorb the positions. The proposition also authorized the Norman Fire Department to hire 30 new firefighters, build two new stations and equip them.